Hong Kong’s Bishop Emeritus Kong was recognised by the Stephanus Foundation and the International Service for Human Rights. "I hope many in the world will pay attention to human rights and religious freedom, which unfortunately are absent in China", the cardinal said. There are new possibilities for an agreement between China and the Vatican.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong’s Bishop Emeritus, Card Joseph Zen, has received a human rights award from the Stephanus Foundation.
For the cardinal, this prize does not belong to him but to all Christians persecuted in China. "I hope many in the world will pay attention to human rights and religious freedom, which unfortunately are absent in China", the cardinal told the Apple Daily two days before he left to pick up the award.
Past recipients include Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Sako, Syriac Orthodox Sister Hatune Dogan, and Brother Andrew, nicknamed ‘God’s smuggler’ for his exploits smuggling Bibles into the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
The prelate noted that those who received the award before him suffered persecution, but "did I? I suffered nothing."
Speaking about a recent meeting with the pope, he noted that the pontiff reminded him that "the crimson colour of the cardinal’s choir dress means that one must be ready for martyrdom. I told him it was a pity for I have no opportunity of becoming a martyr. My crimson colour is for the blood of the others who are persecuted."
Card Zen was told of the award in late 2017 just as an "imminent" agreement between China and the Vatican was being discussed, a deal the cardinal criticised as detrimental to the freedom of the Church in China.
He said that he initially thought of not going to Germany to receive the prize. "If there was an agreement, I could not oppose the Pope.” However, “For now, there is no agreement, and I can express my thoughts. I hope that more and more people will pay attention to this."
For Card Zen, the fact that the agreement is not "imminent" leaves room for new possibilities.
Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus will use the award to help China’s persecuted Christians.